Saturday, September 28, 2013

Rou Gui Wuyi Yancha • 肉桂武夷岩茶

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Rou Gui Wuyi Yancha • 肉桂武夷岩茶

On my last visit to Kkik Da Geo, I asked if they had any Wuyi yancha (cliff teas) in stock other than Da Hong Pao. Mrs Kim went into the back room and returned with a package of Rou Gui cha, Cassia Bark tea, named for it's cinnamon-like character. I hadn't been introduced to Rou Gui before but it's a Qing Dynasty tea that has recently joined the ranks of Wuyi's "Four Famous Tea Bushes (四大名欉, Sì dàmíng cóng), raising the number to five.

She spared no detail in preparing it, lining up a row of special cups, specific for high-end Wuyi teas, small even by gongfu standards, with beautiful red floral images raised from the sides of the cups. Loading a zhuni biao zhun pot with dark, twisted, heavily-roasted leaves, she proceeded to rinse them and a sweet but deep floral fragrance drifted about the table.

As she served each of us, I held the tiny cup to my nose and savoured a slow deep breath. The first sip revealed a flavour not unlike Da Hong Pao, but much softer and very floral. The whole shop went silent, as everything paused to appreciate this tea. The silence was only broken by our hums of delight. After a few cups, a strong "huigan" (回甘), a sweet aftertaste, literally a "returning sweetness", had built up. Da Hong Pao is known for it's unique flavour arising form the throat, but this tea's flavour gathered even deeper in the throat, in a place I'd never experienced flavour before. The tip of my tongue tingled with a bitter-sweet (mostly sweet) sensation. Its chaqi was very strong and a high-frequency buzz warmed me.

This tea continued to haunt me as I awoke in the middle of the night with the huigan still strong on my breath. The next night, it was even in my dreams, as I dreamt I was back at Kkik Da Geo's table, loading the back of a turtle with bundles of this tea. I think I will soon be returning with next month's tea budget for a package of this tea.

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  1. Splendid ! Authentic; like so much !

    Best Regards

    1. Merci d'avoir lu.
      J'ai visité votre blog et vos images sont spectaculaires!
      J'ai ajouté votre lien à mon blogroll.

  2. Replies
    1. Hi Barry,
      Wuyi Mountain "cliff" or "rock" teas (yan cha) are some of the oldest oolongs.
      The three main types of oolong in China are the Wuyi teas, Phoenix Mountain teas, and Tie Kuan Yin. They all claim to be the first, but many scholars side with Wuyi as the earliest examples of oolong tea.